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France may have hidden agenda in promoting small nuclear reactors

Countries that are clinging on to nuclear power are often nuclear weapon states — such as the UK, the US and France,” he explained, and pointed to a speech by Macron in December 2020.

“Without civil nuclear power, no military nuclear power; and without military nuclear power, no civil nuclear power,” the president had said

Do France’s plans for small nuclear reactors have hidden agenda?  DW, 22 Oct 21,

Although France plans to invest in small modular nuclear reactors, experts doubt that this is ecologically and economically sensible. Yet it may be more about geopolitical strategy than energy.”…… 
A French law says the country will have to reduce its share of nuclear energy from currently roughly 70% — the highest in the world — to 50% in 2035, a goal President Emmanuel Macron has in the past called unrealistic. 

But in pursuing small modular reactors (SMRs), some experts believe France may have a hidden agenda.

€1 billion planned investment

Recently, the president announced plans to invest in so-called small modular reactors (SMRs) “to lead the sector with groundbreaking innovations.” The new reactors are ostensibly to help France reduce its CO2 emissions.

The announcement came when Macron unveiled his France 2030 investment strategy of €30 billion ($35 billion) at the Elysee Palace.

“We have a decisive competitive advantage — our historical model, the existing nuclear power plants,” the president said during the ceremony.

The strategy allocates €8 billion to the development of hydrogen power and only €1 billion to SMRs, yet Macron declared the plans to develop the small plants “goal No. 1.”

The country’s SMRs will have a capacity of 50 megawatts to 500 MW each – considerably less than France’s current reactors with their capacity of up to 1,450 MW. SMRs are to be built in clusters to increase sites’ total capacity.

But nuclear champion France is not the frontrunner in the SMR race — the US is……

France’s first demonstration plant is only scheduled to be completed in 2030.

And yet, Nicolas Mazzucchi, of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, thinks the country could take the lead in the sector………

A discussion based on ‘hot air’

But Mycle Schneider thinks nuclear energy is inefficient in the fight against the climate emergency — “too expensive, too slow,” he says. He’s the editor of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), which assesses trends in the global nuclear power industry.

“Last year, more than 250 GW of renewable energy capacity has been added to the grid and only 0.4 GW of net nuclear capacity — nuclear power has become irrelevant,” he asserted.

Schneider says nuclear power plants only appear to be more reliable than renewables: “France’s nuclear reactors, on average, had to be switched off during one-third of the time in 2020, mostly due to maintenance, also as they now have been running for a long time, on average more than 35 years.”

“The discussion around SMRs is orchestrated hot air and has become hugely hyped,” he explained to DW.

He added that renewables had to be seen as a bouquet of different energies. Through demand response management, one type of energy could offset the temporary unavailability of the other. Environmentalists also often point out that construction of nuclear power plants has a significant carbon footprint.

“It takes ages to build new nuclear power plants,” Schneider added. French utility EDF and Siemens started to develop EPRs, a third-generation pressurised water reactor design, after the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986, he explained. “And 35 years on, there’s still no EPR in Europe up and running.”

EDF is building a 1.6 GW EPR in Flamanville in northern France. But constructing the plant will exceed €11 billion, instead of the initially planned €3.3 billion, and the EPR is only scheduled to be completed next year — 10 years later than initially intended.

Nevertheless, President Macron could soon announce plans to build six additional EPRs in France.

Nuclear very capital-intensive

Such delays have Kenneth Gillingham, a professor of environmental and energy economics at Yale University in the US, wondering if investing in nuclear makes economic sense.

“The safety requirement for new nuclear plants are that strict, that constructing them becomes very costly and capital-intensive,” he told DW.

“I don’t really see why you would spend money on SMRs, especially as you don’t know if they will work in the end,” he said.

Philip Johnstone, a research fellow at the University of Sussex School of Business in southern England, thinks that SMRs turn the logic of economies of scale on its head.

Ulterior motives behind investment in SMRs

“We were told all along that building bigger nuclear plants would help us save money through the scale effect, and now it’s supposed to suddenly work the other way around?” Johnstone told DW.

He believes that France has other reasons for continuing to invest in nuclear energy.

“Countries that are clinging on to nuclear power are often nuclear weapon states — such as the UK, the US and France,” he explained, and pointed to a speech by Macron in December 2020.

“Without civil nuclear power, no military nuclear power; and without military nuclear power, no civil nuclear power,” the president had said, praising a sector that employs 220,000 people in France.

“The investment in SMRs seems first and foremost a strategic decision, even though it means wasting a lot of time and money,” Johnstone said.

Time and money that could instead be more effectively invested in climate protection.

According to the United Nations, global CO2 emissions will need to be reduced by more than 7% percent each year until 2030 — based on the year 2019 — to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

October 23, 2021 Posted by | France, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

War fears soar as NASA claims it needs nuclear rockets to rival China in space

War fears soar as NASA claims it needs nuclear rockets to rival China in space

NASA has prompted fears of a conflict after pleading with the US Government to invest in nuclear-powered spacecraft to speed ahead of rivals in the space race., Express UK, By JACOB PAUL, Oct 23, 2021  

 The agency’s officials were testifying at a House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee hearing on Wednesday – and called for new weapons to help the US reach Mars before powers such as Russia and ChinaNASA called on US lawmakers to invest more resources into researching and developing nuclear-powered rockets. They said this would which help humans reach the planet in just three to four months……….
NASA are now scrambling for the US to boost their space defences as China appears to advancing its space technology at a rapid pace……….

while the NASA are hoping to ramp up their space defence systems as they prepare to fend off China in the space race, the move would also come at high risk.

A spokesperson for Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament told “The idea of using nuclear-power in space is not new and has long been suggested as a way of getting to Mars quickly.

“But the launch into space of a nuclear reactor also risks a catastrophic spread of radioactive material if, for example, the launch vehicle were to malfunction and explode – which would be quite possible if an over competitive rush to space were to occur.

“Nuclear power has also been suggested for other applications, such as powering space weapons and military bases on the Moon and Mars. So, there really needs to be international consideration of the possible applications of nuclear power in space and their desirability. Some of the risks may well outweigh any possible advantages.”

October 23, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mini nuclear reactors claim to be the cheap, effective, action for reaching net zero carbon emissions: UK and others are buying this!

Mini nuclear reactors vie for key role in UK’s push to hit climate targets, 21 Oct 21, SMRs promise huge cost savings over traditional large-scale plans, Ever since the Wylfa nuclear power plant on Anglesey stopped generating electricity in December 2015, communities on the Welsh island that are supportive of atomic power have been waiting for its revival. This week that likelihood increased when the UK government named a site near where the old reactors are being decommissioned as a possible location for a new large-scale plant or the first place in the UK to host a new technology under development, known as small modular reactors (SMRs). 

One of the big selling points of SMRs is that they promise huge cost savings over traditional large-scale reactors. Rolls-Royce, the UK engineering group which is leading a consortium to produce a UK design, expects the first five SMR reactors to cost £2.2bn each, falling to £1.8bn for subsequent units. The government’s decision this week to give nuclear a central role in its net zero emissions strategy has given fresh impetus to replacing Britain’s existing reactors, which are all due to be retired by the end of 2035. Ministers committed a total of £505m in funding to the nuclear initiative, which calls for a mix of large plants, SMRs and other emerging technologies.

More than £200m of that funding is soon expected to be channelled into the consortium led by Rolls-Royce. It has been seeking private match-funding so it can submit its SMR reactor design to the extensive regulatory approval process before the end of the year. Wylfa had been earmarked for a new plant under British plans to build a new generation of large-scale reactors, financed mainly by the private sector, that dates back to 2006. But successive governments have struggled to attract private capital to these projects, where cost-overruns are commonplace because of the engineering risks in such complex structures.

So far work has only started on one: Hinkley Point C in Somerset and costs have spiralled with the latest estimate put at £23bn. The developer behind the proposed Wylfa plant, Japan’s Hitachi, pulled the plug last year after failing to reach a financing agreement with the UK government, although a US consortium is trying to resurrect it.

The UK is not alone in pushing smaller reactors. Other governments around the world looking to tap nuclear power to meet their challenging decarbonisation targets are also showing interest in the technology. Along with the promise of much lower build costs, the smaller power plants are also attractive because of their footprint. The UK, for example, has a limited number of sites suitable for large plants.

France, one of the world’s leaders in nuclear engineering, this month announced €1bn in funding for state-backed utility EDF to develop its own SMR technology by the early 2030s. The technology is similar to existing pressurised water reactors that are used in nuclear power plants today. But the key difference is that the small, modular design would allow the parts to be built in factories ready for quick assembly at the chosen location. This, SMR advocates argue, not only cuts costs and the long lead times but also avoids many of the construction risks that bedevil larger plants………..

……. Rolls-Royce is tight-lipped about its SMR fundraising but Tom Samson, who heads the consortium, said he was in talks with a “number of interested investors and developers in deploying the technology”. If the design gets regulatory approval, a process that can take up to five years, Rolls-Royce believes it could complete its first 470 megawatt SMR plant by 2031. After that it expects to build two units a year.  

At 470MW the plant would have a generating capacity similar to some of Britain’s earliest reactors but would be about seven times less capable than the proposed next large-scale plant in the UK: Sizewell C on England’s east coast.  

………. Among those other options are what the UK dubs “advanced modular reactors”. One of the most viable designs looks to be a high temperature gas-cooled reactor. The technology is being tested in a number of countries, including Japan. The government set a target this week of having the first advanced modular reactor demonstrator in Britain “in the early 2030s”. But analysts question whether any of these technologies would be commercialised in time to help the UK reach its 2035 target for a carbon neutral grid.  

 Moreover, some environmentalists argue a big challenge is the UK’s lack of experience with modularisation manufacturing techniques that are key to their economics. “We have never done it,” said Tom Burke, co-founder of E3G, a climate think-tank, arguing that modularisation would require a “very large factory” that could only be funded with a long line of orders.  

Burke questioned how it would be possible to secure those orders when the first SMR is, as yet, unproven. But Rolls-Royce’s Samson remains unfazed. In contrast to future large atomic plants, which are likely to require a financing model that will be underpinned by British households through their energy bills, modularisation promises a radical shift in funding nuclear power. He conceded that government backing would be needed to help finance the initial manufacturing set-up and first orders but insisted private capital would ultimately pay for the bulk of the fleet. “This is an important transition for us.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce ”small” nuclear reactors – not really small, not useful against climate change, but useful for military purposes

Answers to the energy and climate crises are needed NOW. These answers are available based on a comprehensive programme of developing renewable energy and energy conservation technologies.

Every pound wasted on nuclear power will be a pound taken away from faster and more effectivesolutions offered by renewable energy and energy conservation.

It is reported that the Tory government will restate its support on Monday, 18 October to buiding a fleet of modular nuclear reactors. The favoured reactor is the Rolls Royce SMR, namely ‘Small ModularReactor’. This term is very misleading as the Rolls Royce reactor would produce 450MW of electricity, which is more than the output of the old Magnox station at Trawsfynydd, and the same size as one of old big Magnox reactors at Wylfa.

It is known that Rolls Royce are asking for huge public subsidies to realise their nuclear ambitions. This movement towardsbuilding reactors to produce electricity is closely related to their wish to safeguard skills in the reactors they provide for submarines carrying nuclear weapons. Civil and military nuclear are two sides of the same coin. Rolls Royce claim they would like to build 18 SMRs.

How far will the government be prepared to go to fund a far from new technology and like larger nuclear reactors, is open to accidents and radioactive leaks, and produces poisonous and lethal radioactive waste.

Also mentioned is the possibility of Bechtel/Westinghouse trying to push the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor on the Johnson government to be developed at the Wylfa site.  This is the very reactor on the V.C.Summer site in South Carolina that
bankrupted Toshiba Westinghouse in 2017. That happened due to huge overspending and the project was abandoned 40% of the way into construction. It was therefore no surprise that the NUGen Consortium project to build three AP1000s at Moorside near Sellafield collapsed in 2018. Nobody was prepared to invest in it. Exactly the same fate as the Hitachi/Horizon plan at Wylfa. Johnson and his ministers in the Treasury and the Business,

Energy and Industrial Stratregy Department are missing the point entirely as they cling on to past imperial grandeur by blindly
promoting nuclear power. Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, extortionately expensive, and a threat to environmental and human health. Nuclear power will do nothing to tackle the present energy crisis, nor will it effectively counteract the effects of climate change., and we certainly cannot afford to waste the fifteen years needed to build large new nuclear stations

Answers to the energy and climate crises are needed NOW. These answers are available based on a comprehensive programme of developing renewable energy and energy conservation technologies. Every pound wasted on nuclear power will be a pound taken away from faster and more effectivesolutions offered by renewable energy and energy conservation.

 People Against Wylfa B 18th Oct 2021   

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

British government’s enthusiasm for mini nuclear reactors, led by Rolls Royce and 8 other organisations

Brexit Britain strikes historic £210m deal with Rolls-Royce to create nuclear reactors

BREXIT Britain is set to see its emissions slashed as the Government is poised to make a landmark deal with Rolls-Royce to fund a fleet of nuclear mini-reactors.

Express UK, By JACOB PAUL, Mon, Oct 18, 2021   The move is set to help Prime Minister Boris Johnson race to his target of zero-carbon electricity by 2035 in a move set to impress ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in less than two weeks time. Mr Johnson visited Rolls-Royce’s Bristol factory on Friday, where he was shown their state-of -the-art facility by their CEO, Warren East. A consortium led by Rolls-Royce had already secured £210million in backing from private investors for the small modular reactor (SMR) project, a sum that the Government is expected to match and even surpass.

Confirmation is expected before the spending review on October 27.

The consortium called UK SMR, is set to rebrand British engineering firm Rolls-Royce SMR under a request from the Government.   Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Match-funding for Rolls-Royce would be a huge signal to private investors that the government wants SMRs alongside new large-scale stations to hit net zero.

It would also show investors that the Government believes in nuclear as a green technology.”

 Government support will help with the consortium’s multi-billion pound plans to build 16 SMRs up and down the country………………  Rolls-Royce is also being advised by HSBC, which has helped it secure £210million from private investors, which was a condition set by the government for them to hand out at least the same amount of funding.

This move could also signal a possible U-turn  from the Government on their scheduled phasing out of nuclear power in the UK.

 13 nuclear reactors capable of producing 7.8GW of power currently produce around 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.

But over half of that capacity comes from reactors that are scheduled to be replaced or halted by 2025.

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Terra Power’s Natrium nuclear reactor will be an economic lemon

This host of factors makes it reasonably certain that the Natrium will not be economically competitive.

In other words, even if has no technical problems, it will be an economic lemon.

Ramana, Makhijani: Look before you leap on nuclear, Oct 16, 2021  

The Cowboy State is weighing plans to host a multi-billion dollar “demonstration” nuclear power plant — TerraPower’s Natrium reactor. The long history of similar nuclear reactors, dating back to 1951, indicates that Wyoming is likely to be left with a nuclear lemon on its hands.

The Natrium reactor design, which uses molten sodium as a coolant (water is used in most existing commercial nuclear reactors), is likely to be problematic. Sodium reacts violently with water and burns if exposed to air, a serious vulnerability. A sodium fire, within a few months of the reactor starting to generate power, led to Japan’s Monju [at left] demonstration reactor being shut down.

At 1,200 megawatts, the French Superphénix was the largest sodium-cooled reactor, designed to demonstrate commercial feasibility. Plagued by operational problems, including a major sodium leak, it was shut down in 1998 after 14 years, having operated at an average capacity of under 7 percent compared to the 80 to 90 percent required for commercial operation. Other sodium-cooled reactors have also experienced leaks, which are very difficult to prevent because of chemical interactions between sodium and the stainless steel used in various reactor components. Finally, sodium, being opaque, makes reactor maintenance and repairs notoriously difficult.

Sodium-cooled reactors can experience rapid and hard-to-control power surges. Under severe conditions, a runaway chain reaction can even result in an explosion. Such a runaway reaction was the central cause of the 1986 Chernobyl reactor explosion, though that was a reactor of a different design. Following Chernobyl, Germany’s Kalkar sodium-cooled reactor, about the same size as the proposed Natrium, was abandoned without ever being commissioned, though it was complete.

All these technical and safety challenges naturally drive up the costs of sodium-cooled reactors, making them significantly more expensive than conventional nuclear reactors. More than $100 billion, in today’s dollars, has been spent worldwide in the attempt to commercialize essentially this design and associated technologies, to no avail.

The Natrium design, being even more expensive than present-day reactors, will therefore be more expensive than practically every other form of electricity generation. The Wall Street firm, Lazard, estimates that electricity from new nuclear plants is several times more than the costs at utility-scale solar and wind power plants. Further, the difference has been increasing.

To this bleak picture, Terrapower has added another economically problematic feature: molten salt storage to allow its electric output to vary. Terrapower hopes this feature will help it integrate better into an electricity grid that has more variable electricity sources, notably wind and solar.

Molten salt storage would be novel in a nuclear reactor, but it is used in concentrating solar power projects, where it can cost an additional $2,000 per kilowatt of capacity. At that rate, it could add a billion dollars to the Natrium project.

This host of factors makes it reasonably certain that the Natrium will not be economically competitive. In other words, even if has no technical problems, it will be an economic lemon.

To top it all off, the proposed Wyoming TerraPower demonstration project depends on government funds. Last year, the Department of Energy awarded TerraPower $80 million in initial taxpayer funding; this may increase $1.6 billion over seven years, “subject to the availability of future appropriations” and Terrapower coming up with matching funds.

Despite government support, private capital has recently abandoned a more traditional project, the mPower small modular reactor, resulting in its termination in 2017. And it was Congress that refused to appropriate more money for the sodium-cooled reactor proposed for Clinch River, Tennessee when its costs skyrocketed, thereby ending the project in 1983.

A much harder look at the facts is in order, lest Wyoming add to the total of many cancelled nuclear projects and abandoned construction sites. Of course, the Natrium lemon might be made into lemonade by converting it to an amusement park if it is never switched on, like the Kalkar reactor, now refashioned into Wunderland Kalkar, an amusement park in Germany, near the border with the Netherlands. For energy, the state might look to its natural heritage – its wind power potential is greater than the combined generation of all 94 operating U.S. nuclear reactors put together, which are on average, about three times the size of Natrium.

M. V. Ramana is Professor and Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and the Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia. Dr. Ramana holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Boston University.

Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, holds a Ph.D. in engineering (nuclear fusion) from the University of California at Berkeley.

October 18, 2021 Posted by | Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Orano’s nuclear reprocessing problems at La Hague

 Nuclear: the CGT denounces “a congestion” of rejects from Mox in Orano La
Hague. Due to recycling problems at the Marcoule plant, Orano La Hague has
to deal with scraps from Mox. A situation denounced by Greenpeace, but
under control according to Orano.

 La Presse de la Manche 15th Oct 2021

October 18, 2021 Posted by | France, reprocessing, safety | Leave a comment

Keep space for peace – opposition to New Zealand’s space industry and its military connections

NZ’s $1.7 billion space industry rockets away, but a law review sparks more debate about controversial military payloads, Stuff Amanda Cropp, Oct 17 2021
  ”………………..   how far and how fast the New Zealand space industry has come since Rocket Lab’s first test launch blasted off in 2017 from its Māhia Peninsula launch site, with millions being invested by the Government and the private sector.A review of the Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act that regulates launches and payloads received only 17 responses last month, but consultation on the “peaceful, sustainable and responsible” use of space, delayed until next year because of Covid-19, is likely to get a much more heated reception.

Peace groupsthe Green Party and members of the Māhia community have already been vocal about their opposition to Rocket Lab’s military work in the wake of the controversial Gunsmoke-J satellite it launched for the United States Army Space and Missile Defence Co………….

…… The Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act outlaws payloads that contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities, harm, interfere with or destroy other spacecraft or systems on earth; support or enable specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to government policy, or are likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment…………….

Space for Peace

In March, 17 peace groups wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the Gunsmoke-J launch appeared to breach both the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act and the Cabinet-approved to payload assessments.

They argued that because US military strategy was increasingly using satellite systems to control and direct nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, weapons, it was extremely difficult to determine whether any given satellite was contributing to supporting this weapons system.

……… In mid-September the Anti-Bases Campaign had about 100 attendees at a Keep Space for Peace webinar, and organiser Murray Horton says they were primarily concerned Rocket Lab’s Auckland and Māhia operations effectively constituted a US base in New Zealand, albeit a privately owned one.

Sonya Smith of the Māhia’s Rocket Lab Monitoring Group says they want future regulations to include a clause outlawing payloads that will “assist in the operation of a weapon”.

Professor Kevin Clements is a member of the Peace Foundation International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, which was a signatory to the letter to the prime minister, and he does not believe MBIE is the appropriate agency to vet payloads.

“They have a vested interest in seeing [space] is a thriving industry bringing dollars into the New Zealand economy. This needs to be handled by the prime minister’s department.”……..

October 18, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, space travel | Leave a comment

Opposition to UK’s plans for nuclear fusion

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have hit out at the UK Government’s plan to
create a prototype nuclear fusion power plant that is being developed with
hopes to sustain moves away from fossil fuels.

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said that this latest effort to extol the
virtues of nuclear fusion as a “low carbon” source of energy is to keep the
industry “alive” due to the UK being a “nuclear weapon state”.

 The National 15th Oct 2021

October 18, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s new pro nuclear push – and for small nuclear reactors

Japan’s Carbon Goal Is Based on Restarting 30 Nuclear Reactors, Bloomberg,  By Isabel Reynolds 17 October 2021,  Japan’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 46% by 2030 is based on the assumption it will restart 30 of its nuclear reactors, a top ruling party executive said. 

Akira Amari, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, made the remarks Sunday in a televised debate broadcast by NHK ahead of the Oct. 31 general election. 

Much of Japan’s nuclear capacity has been offline since the 2011 Fukushima disaster and Amari said only nine reactors are currently in service. Surveys generally show the electorate is against restarting the plants. 

The LDP has also been promoting the idea of building small modular reactors, saying they are safer than Japan’s existing atomic plants……..

October 18, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

Prince William: Saving Earth should come before space tourism

William told Newscast’s Adam Fleming he had “absolutely no interest” in going as high as space, adding there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.

Prince William: Saving Earth should come before space tourism 

By George Bowden, 15 Oct 21,
s   Prince William has suggested entrepreneurs should focus on saving Earth rather than engaging in space tourism.

The Duke of Cambridge said great brains and minds should be “trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live”.

He also warned about a rise in “climate anxiety” among younger generations.

William spoke to the BBC’s Newscast ahead of the first Earthshot Prize to reward those trying to save the planet.

The prize’s name is a reference to the “moonshot” ambition of 1960s America, which saw then-President John F Kennedy pledge to get a man on the moon within a decade.

Speaking about the current space race and the drive to promote space tourism, William said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”I think that ultimately is what sold it for me – that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future.”

On Wednesday, Hollywood actor William Shatner became the oldest person to go to space as he blasted off aboard the Blue Origin sub-orbital capsule developed by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk are also building up space businesses.

He warned there was “a rise in climate anxiety” among young people who whose “futures are basically threatened the whole time”.

“It’s very unnerving and it’s very, you know, anxiety making,” he said.

The father-of-three challenged adults to channel their inner child to “remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we’re robbing those future generations of”.

William also said his father, Prince Charles, had a “rough ride” when warning about climate change, adding: “It’s been a hard road for him.”

He said Charles, inspired by his father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, “talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic”.

The duke added that “it would be an absolute disaster if [Prince] George is sat here talking” about saving the planet in 30 year’s time.

Five winners of the Earthshot Prize, each receiving £1m, will be announced in a ceremony later this month.
William told Newscast’s Adam Fleming he had “absolutely no interest” in going as high as space, adding there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.

October 16, 2021 Posted by | space travel, UK | 1 Comment

Rebranded – ROLLS-ROYCE SMR , a new conglomerate of 9 groups (to spread the risks of uneconomic small nuclear reactors?)

The nine-strong consortium also includes the National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke, the construction firm, alongside Assystem, SNC Lavalin/Atkins, Wood, BAM Nuttall, the Welding Institute and Nuclear AMRC.

UK poised to confirm funding for mini nuclear reactors for carbon-free energy Guardian, 

Rolls-Royce-led consortium already has £210m in private backing for plans to build 16 reactors across the country, 
The government is poised to approve funding for a fleet of Rolls-Royce mini nuclear reactors that the prime minister hopes will help the UK reach his target of zero-carbon electricity by 2035.

A consortium led by the British engineering firm had already secured £210m in backing from private investors for the small modular reactor (SMR) project, a sum that the government is expected to match or better. Confirmation is expected before the spending review on 27 October, according to well-placed sources.

The consortium, known as UK SMR, will rebrand as Rolls-Royce SMR to coincide with Westminster’s blessing.

Tom Greatrex, the chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), said: “Match-funding for Rolls-Royce would be a huge signal to private investors that the government wants SMRs alongside new large-scale stations to hit net zero. It would also show investors that the government believes in nuclear as a green technology.”

Backing from the government will pave the way for the consortium’s multibillion-pound plan to build 16 SMRs around the country, the first of which could be plugged into the grid by 2031…………..

Confirmed support for SMRs could signal a concerted effort within government to reverse the scheduled decline in the UK’s nuclear power capacity. About 20% of the nation’s electricity comes from 13 nuclear reactors capable of producing 7.8GW of power. But more than half of that capacity comes from reactors due to retire by 2025, and plans to replace them have stalled.

Toshiba pulled out of a plant at Moorside in Cumbria in 2020, and Hitachi withdrew planning consent for a project at Wylfa Newydd, on Anglesey, this year. While Hinkley Point C is due to start generating electricity from 2026, only one new project, Sizewell C, is now in the works, with no final investment decision yet made.

Britain’s ability to build new nuclear reactors has been further complicated by the government’s unwillingness to allow any further involvement from the state-backed China General Nuclear. CGN has a 20% stake in Sizewell C but ministers have been looking into ways to remove it from the project before it moves to the construction phase. The Chinese company was due to take a lead role in the Bradwell reactor in Suffolk, which is now highly unlikely to go ahead.

Industry players are keen to see the government legislate to approve the regulated asset base (RAB) model, which allows private investors a more reliable stream of revenues from nuclear power plants – which typically require tens of billions of pounds to build – by piling costs on to household energy bills……..

The nine-strong consortium also includes the National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke, the construction firm, alongside Assystem, SNC Lavalin/Atkins, Wood, BAM Nuttall, the Welding Institute and Nuclear AMRC.

October 16, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | 2 Comments

All nuclear reactors are very expensive, but small nuclear reactors are even more expensive

Australian Submarines May Go Nuclear But Our Power Stations Never Will,   SOLARQUOTES, October 11, 2021 by Ronald Brakels

  • ”…………………….Small Modular Reactors Are More Expensive An SMR is a Small Modular Reactor.  There have been claims these will provide cheap energy in the future, but this seems unlikely given their designers have stated that…
    • Before cost overruns are considered, SMRs will produce electricity at a higher cost than current nuclear reactor designs.Being more expensive than conventional nuclear power is a major obstacle for any plan to supply energy at a lower cost. 
  • The advantage of SMRs is they are supposed to be less likely to suffer from disastrous cost overruns.  This means they are a more expensive version of a type of generation that is already too expensive for Australia before cost overruns. While any cost overruns that do occur may not be as bad as conventional nuclear, that’s not what I call a good deal.  

  • There is nothing new about small nuclear reactors.  India has over a dozen reactors of 220 megawatts or less in operation.  But all Indian reactors now under construction are larger because they want to reduce costs.  Technically their small reactors aren’t modular because major components weren’t constructed at one site and then moved to where they were used.  This leads to another major problem with SMRs…
    • They don’t exist. Before Australia can deploy an SMR, a suitable prototype reactor will have to be successfully built and operated. Then a commercial version will need to be developed and multiple units constructed overseas without serious cost overruns and used long enough to show they can be operated safely and cheaply. Given nuclear’s prolonged development cycle, this could easily take over 20 years.  The very best estimate for the cost of electricity from an SMR I have seen is around 6.2 cents per kilowatt-hour and it relies on everything going perfectly — a rare thing for nuclear power.  It also leaves out several costs that have to be paid in the real world.  :……….

October 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

President Macron backs nuclear energy, but France’s Greens want speedier end to nuclear power

The president 9 Macron) used the speech to state his support for nuclear energy, which accounts for about 70% of French electricity and has become a point of fierce debate in the run-up to next year’s election.

Green politicians want France to move fast to end its dependence on nuclear, highlighting the large amounts of radioactive waste it produces as well as safety issues.

Politicians on the right and far-right want more reactors. Macron said France would invest €1bn by 2030 in “disruptive innovation” to produce atomic power, which he said would focus on designing small nuclear reactors with improved waste management. He added that France should be able to produce 2m electric and hybrid cars by 2030 and build a low-CO2 aeroplane during the same timeframe.

 Guardian 12th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | France, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

France is betting on small nuclear reactors, but obstacles remain.

Nuclear, France still believes in it. Analysis The executive will
encourage the creation of small reactors. The decision to launch the
construction of 6 EPRs could come more quickly than expected, but the
obstacles still remain numerous.

 La Criox 12th Oct 2021

*France – SMRs &EPRs**

 Nuclear: France is betting on SMR mini-reactors. As part of the France
2030 plan, the President of the Republic should announce this Tuesday a new
envelope for the development of Small modular reactors (SMR). Mini-reactors
with a power of 170 MW, ten times less than a conventional reactor.

 Les Echos 12th Oct 2021

October 14, 2021 Posted by | France, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment